When it comes to book recommendations, my friend Lissa is rarely wrong. So when she urged me to go right out and buy a $40, 706 pp. book , I did.
And yes, Far From The Tree is truly amazing. Worth every penny. (Almost) every sentence is a gem: Like this one from the Introduction: “Though I have gathered statistics, I have relied primarily on anecdotes because numbers imply trends, while stories acknowledge chaos.”
[FYI: The queue to be the next person to read my water-damaged-from reading-at-the-(Palm Springs)pool-copy is, so far, exactly one person. So get in line!]
Andrew Solomon spent 6 years interviewing over 300 parents and their children, families who know all about deafness, being homosexual, autistic, gifted, et al because the children of these families are so; in other words, families whose children were not, as the saying goes, apples that fell close to the tree. He writes beautifully about love and ambivalence, about coping and falling apart. He quotes all kinds of parents, all kinds of studies. He uses words like “shimmering humanity.” If he finds a parent overbearing—this is especially true in the “Prodigies” chapter—he says so. If he discovers a parent whose caregiving overwhelms him with its tenderness and wisdom, his writing about that parent will make you cry.
So get in line!